I was really excited to find out that the fabulous chef/owner of Baru 66 opened a quick breakfast/lunch bistro. If you haven't been to Baru 66 yet, go. It is the best restaurant in Des Moines. Just excellent.
I have to say, my first two visits were quite lovely. The updated space with muted blue and brown is quaint. A few booths mingle around open tables and a partial divide to help allow a more muted noise level. Both of these visits were during the lunch hour, and the place was starting to pick up as the minutes ticked by.
My first visit I couldn't pass up on the Croque Monsieur. I could have done the Madame, but to be honest, I like the simplicity of enjoying the béchamel with the ham without the interference of the egg. Although my sandwich was a little on the dark toasted side, it was still superb. The ham was balanced by a perfect béchamel that oozed out of the sandwich with each bite. A fork was necessary for this little gem, but it also made the dining experience more enjoyable...this is the kind of sandwich that is a reminder why the French take their time, so they savor the taste not shovel it. Pomme Frites were spot on, as was the lightly dressed side of greens that I ordered.
My husband ordered the Prairie Burger. Let me just say that he is extremely picky when it comes to meat. We order all of ours naturally feed, hormone free and organic. With that being said, this was the first burger that he has had that was up to par. The onions were perfectly caramelized and for this chèvre challenged man it was a wonderful combination of the sweet onions, peppery arugula (and fresh!) and the goat cheese. It was cooked perfectly medium rare, which is a rarity in this town.
Oh...and I couldn't leave without a sampling, or two of the macarons.
Great flavor, wonderful bittersweet chocolate filling. A little too moist, but otherwise good flavor. La Mie still has the market on the towns best macaron.
My second visit, again over lunch, left me feeling just the same as the first. Excellent, rounded and almost perfectly done. No pictures this time, but I opted for the Prosciutto panini and my companion had the Tartine burger. Interestingly enough, my lovely husband was also there again and ordered the pasta, which he said was wonderful. My only complaint was that when I placed my order I was told my panini had arugula, which it did not. That would have made this visit perfect. The panini just had the prosciutto and tomato, so it was missing something to lighten up the salty richness of the rest of the sandwich.
My third visit was for breakfast with a dear friend who just became engaged. Congratulations again Sharisse.
Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad. (Name that song!!) Anyways, imagine my severe disappointment when I ordered hot chocolate and this is what I got...
(Me being wordless)
I was so excited to see the breakfast menu have Eggs Benedict listed. I know to most that Benedict is passé, but it really is one of my favorites. I do have one positive thing to say, the hollandaise was right on the mark, light but rich this perfect emulsion of egg yolk and butter had me wishing I would have ordered that as a breakfast soup. The ham was nice too, but seemed like a quality deli meat. The english muffin was a little too thin and was difficult to cut and chew, and the poached egg was significantly overdone, almost hard boiled egg done. I do like the idea of the greens to accompany this dish, however.
The crepes were mediocre. Sharisse said she enjoyed her gouda and onion quiche though.
Dare I try breakfast again?
All in all, Tartine is a wonderful new addition to the West Des Moines dining scene that is more locally conscious and strives to put out quality food. Be prepared for a little wait depending on the day, as they do make everything fresh to order, and the prices are not your typical lunch time standard. But if the food is, mostly, this good, it is well worth it. My husband went 3 times in one week. And he drives from downtown.